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Crane-Crab War

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Crane-Crab War 
Crane-Crab War
Location: Kenkai Hanto
Date: 387-400
Major Forces: Crane Clan, Crab Clan
Generals: Doji Mizhime, Hida Ichido
Battles of Rokugan

The Crane-Crab War was the first internal war in Rokugan in three hundred years since the defeat of Fu Leng. [1] The conflict was also sometimes referred to as the First Yasuki War ever since the second war over the allegiance of the Yasuki family in 1158. [2]

Hantei Manipulations Edit

The Emperor Hantei Fujiwa was looking for a weakness in the Crane Clan Champion, Doji Mizobu, because his son was a member of the Gozoku. This weakness turned out to be the Yasuki. They had grown in economic influences but Mizobu kept them out of the courts for fear that they might become a power. Fujiwa believed that by using jealousy he could get Mizobu to drive a wedge between the Doji and Yasuki. He hoped that such a coup would not only weaken the gozoku but give the Lion Clan Champion Akodo Mitsuyuki enough courage to back him publicly. The Crab Clan Champion Hida Ichido was a fiercely supporter of Fujiwa, so he was ready to do whatever his Emperor requested. [3]

Starting Manoeuvers Edit

The Crab attempted to distract paranoid Mizobu from the Hantei's political maneuvers by threatening his borders, building fortresses ever closer to Kenkai Hanto Peninsula [3] which led in a dispute over its shipping rights, [4] where they had both established settlements. The Crane became paranoid as the Lion became bold, as Mitsuyuki openly supported the Emperor in word an action. It seemed like the plan was going to work. Sadly, the tensions between the Crab and Crane exploded without warning. Open warfare began [3] in 386. The Crab claimed the Crane had no need for the land, and the Crane said the Crab were foolish to set up so far from the Shadowlands. [1] [5]

In truth the Yasuki Daimyo had solicited the Crab for assistance, orchestrating the seizure of many Yasuki provinces. The Crane Clan Champion in 385 had admonished the Yasuki for questionable practices. The Yasuki had of course protested, claiming they had been given leave to pursue their duties in their own manner for centuries. The Champion had not relented, creating a schism between the Champion and the Daimyo, leading to the defection to the Crab and seizure of Yasuki lands by the Crab in 387. [2] [5]

Clear Water Village was seized by a Hida force in 387, and immediately reinforced with help from the Kaiu.[6]

Kenshin's Helm Involvement Edit

All of Fujiwa attempts to resolve the issue made things worse and made him seem more incompetent. [3] It was said that the cursed Kenshin's Helm was instrumental in the failure of Crane-Crab peace talks that would lead in open war. [7]

Escalation Edit

The Lady Doji Mizhime asked the Emperor to settle the dispute. Ichido was not interested in the Emperor's opinion and launched an attack on the peninsula before the Crane had even spoken to the Emperor. The crab Champion quickly captured the entire peninsula, but Mizhime used the Crane's influences in the courts to cut the Crab off from their supplies. When the crab were low on food and munitions the Crane lauched a counter attack, easily forcing the Crab back out of the peninsula. [1]

Crane attack Clear Water Edit

In 398 the Crane launched a small attack on Clear Water Village, landing from ships in an attempt to cut supply lines to the main Crab army in Crane lands. The small Hida force stationed there, with aid from the local dojo's sensei and students, mounted a strong defense. With the later aid of some Hiruma reserves the Crane were routed within a week.[6]

Breakaway of the Yasuki Edit

It was at this point that the Yasuki Daimyo Yasuki Tsanumi came to Ichido's aid. Mizhime demanded immediately that the Yasuki cease their operations with the Crab, but they refused, and since Lady Doji would not hear their argument the Yasuki decided to break away. The stranglehold on the Crab supplies was broken by the Yasuki and Ichido could again resume the attack on the peninsula, this time with even greater success than before. Before the conflict could escalate further the Emperor intervened and declared the peninsula to be split between the two clans. The Yasuki could not return to the Crane at this point so Ichido willingly accepted the Yasuki into the Crab as they sorely needed liasons to the other clans. [1]

Sparrow escape and End of the War Edit

In 400 during the negotiations over the war's conclusion the son of a minor Crane daimyo made an errant comment over his clan's wealth. The matter was settled ousting the courtier, his family, and their followers from the Clan. Kusada granted them lands stripped from the Crab and Crane, to form the Sparrow Minor Clan. This allowed a final conclusion to the war and removed a source of distraction and embarrassment for the Crane. [8]

Aftermath Edit

Imperial Edicts Edit

When the war ended, the Emperor issued an Imperial edict banning large-scale open warfare among the Great Clans. [2] The moritorium on open warfare lasted over seven centuries until the Scorpion Coup and Clan War. Although after the Clan War the edict was largely assumed to be back in force once more, the Unicorn Clan eventually claimed they were exempt, as their Clan was not present in Rokugan in the fourth century, and they were not listed in the edict. This gave the Unicorn the leeway they needed to initiate the War of the Rich Frog in 1165. [9]

Clear Water Village Edit

Two years after the end of the war, the new Yasuki Daimyo Yasuki Kaname proposed increased construction at Clear Water Village. The new Crab Clan Champion Hida Tsakura ordered construction to begin, and the village became a base from which the Crab could draw strength and funds from in their war against the Shadowlands.[6]

Other Consequences Edit

Fujiwa admitted defeat to the gozoku and many samurai of the Crane, Crab and Lion had been made ronin and the names were documented by gozoku leader and Imperial Scribe Shiba Gaijushiko. [5]

The war resulted in many major consequences for Rokugani society. The war saw the first instance of the defection of an entire family from one clan to another, and created a feud between the Crane and Crab that would last for centuries to come. Innumerable border skirmishes would happen over these years, and even a Third Yasuki War. [2]

Kolat rising Edit

The economic war undertaken by the Yasuki and Crane had given rise a secret power in the Rokugani society, the Kolat. [10]

Known Casualties Edit

Sources Conflict
The sources relating to this article are in conflict with each other.
Though the beginning of the Crab-Crane War is fairly universally established as 387, the end date is more fluid. Although Third Edition places the end of the war in 400 (p. 12), Bells of the Dead, apparently the first book to give a date for the end of the war, places the conflict from 387-398 (p. 7). Masters of War (p. 6) supports the Third Edition account, which is the commonly held correct dates.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Way of the Crab, p. 24
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Masters of War, p. 6
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Way of the Wolf, p. 26
  4. Way of the Minor Clans, p. 50
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Imperial Histories, p. 44
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Strongholds of the Empire page 28
  7. Imperial Histories, p. 75
  8. Imperial Histories, p. 45
  9. Legend of the Five Rings; Third Edition, pp. 12, 26
  10. Way of the Crane, p. 47

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